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KTRK Reporter Rescues Armadillo from Texas Flood Waters

Puppies in storm drains? Not in Texas. The big story in the Houston area today is flooding, and Jessica Holloway, a reporter at Houston ABC owned station KTRK, was out in it when she came to the rescue of an armadillo that had gotten trapped in rising waters.

As the station describes the rescue on the KTRK website:

(She) spotted the critter struggling to stay afloat in about two feet of water. She then came to the animal’s rescue, using her umbrella to help steer the armadillo toward dry land.

Other people standing along the road assisted as the animal got closer to shore and helped steer it away from the rising water.

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KTRK Anchor Tom Abrahams Signs Three-Book Deal

wpid-allegiance-coverHouston anchor Tom Abrahams, it turns out, has been busy in his time away from the weekend anchor desk at ABC owned KTRK. He’s just signed a three-book deal with Post Hill Press for a series of political thrillers. The Houston Chronicle reports Abrahams has already published two books, “Sedition” and “Allegiance,” with the first of three more already written.

But despite his emerging status as an author, he’s not ready to give up TV news:

“I love my job at Channel 13. So no plans to write full-time,” he said. “I spend about 10 hours a week writing, which is a good escape. It fills a creative void. If it became a full-time job, it would be become less of an escape. As long as I can do both, I will.”

KTRK Assistant ND to Retire

kobos mcguffEarlier this week, we reported Houston ABC owned station KTRK had promoted executive news producer of special projects Wendy Granato to news director. Now we find out assistant news director Don Kobos, is retiring.

According to Houston media blogger Mike McGuff, who first reported the news, Kobos had been a reporter at the station since 1982. He moved into the Assistant ND role in 2000.

Before joining KTRK, Kobos was an investigative reporter at WRAL in Raleigh. He started his career also worked at WWBT in Richmond, Va. in 1976.

KRIV Apologizes for Airing Offensive Tweet

Houston FOX owned station KRIV is apologizing today for airing a tweet someone sent out using offensive language to describe Cowboy’s Quarterback Tony Romo.

The tweet scrolled across the screen during the station’s 5:00 and 9:00 p.m. news in the ticker. It read, “Tony Romo, still the gayest player on the cowgirls.”

Michael Sam, the NFL’s first openly gay player, had just signed with the Dallas Cowboys.

The station also promises to air an apology during it’s 5:00 p.m. news today. Read more

Wendy Granato Named KTRK News Director

KTRK LOGOHouston ABC owned station KTRK has named Wendy Granato VP of news and digital content.

Granato started at KTRK in 1998. For the past 12 years, she has worked as executive news producer of special projects.

“Wendy gives us a seasoned news manager who will hit the ground running,” KTRK president and GM, Henry Florsheim said in a statement. “She knows the market, the staff and has demonstrated the ability to create top quality content across a range of formats and platforms.”

She started her career at KATC in Lafayette, La. She had also worked at KWNS in Houston where she was made news director in 1996.

[Rick Gevers]

Report: Texas Mother Not First to Accuse KHOU Reporter of Unethical Behavior

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As we’ve reported, a mother has sued Houston CBS station KHOU, claiming she was falsely accused in a news story of locking her child in a hot car while she got a haircut:

KHOU reported on the incident July 15 based on a witness who said shoppers “took matters into their own hands,” smashing the car window with a hammer while their mother, Araceli Cisneros, was inside the mall. In reality, Cisneros had actually accidentally locked the children — and her car keys — in the car, and had asked for help in smashing the windows to get them.

The lawsuit accuses KHOU and reporter Rucks Russell with a “reckless disregard” for the truth and with failing to do the “most basic fact checking.”

According to a story posted to community news site Covering Katy, it’s not the first time Russell’s been involved in an ethical controversy:

In 1998 while working in Florida for (Orlando ABC affiliate) WFTV Russell was suspended while his employer investigated his relationship with a woman who was a key witness in a murder case.

According to the Orlando Sentinel there were questions about how Russell obtained his information while reporting on the case. “Defense attorneys wanted to ask Russell about information he may have obtained through a friendship with the suspect’s wife, Angel Huggins,” according to the article.

Russell was later cleared by his employer and allowed to return to work, but his stay at WFTV didn’t last much longer. The Orlando Sentinel reported Russell left the station to “pursue other interests” the following year.

Woman Sues KHOU After Report Claims She Locked Her Kids in Hot Car

khou kids car reportA Texas mother is suing Houston CBS affiliate KHOU after a report that falsely accused her of leaving her children in a hot car while she went to get a hair cut, the Houston Chronicle reports.

KHOU reported on the incident July 15 based on a witness who said shoppers “took matters into their own hands,” smashing the car window with a hammer while their mother, Araceli Cisneros, was inside the mall. In reality, Cisneros had actually accidentally locked the children — and her car keys — in the car, and had asked for help in smashing the windows to get them.

After the story went viral, Cisneros filed a suit claiming more than $200,000 in damages, the Chronicle reports:

The suit says KHOU and reporter Rucks Russell published the story with a “reckless disregard for its truth or falsity” and without doing the “most basic fact checking.” According to the suit, nationally syndicated TV personality Nancy Grace even picked it up, calling Cisneros an unfit mother. Read more

Jerry Vazquez Named KTMD News Director

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Jerry Vazquez has joined KTMD, the Telemundo station in Houston, as news director, media blogger Mike McGuff reports. Vazquez had been executive producer at KTRK, the ABC affiliate in Houstin, for the past 13 years. Prior to KTRK, Vazquez worked at KMID Midland, Texas, where he was news director.

“I want to thank KTRK for the last 13 years of my career,” Vazquez told McGuff. “I will miss my friends who I worked along side, and not only worked with, but also learned from.”

According to McGuff, this is not Vazquez’s first time at a Telemundo station. Back in 1989 he helped launch Telemundo San Antonio’s “Noticiero 60″, where he served as its first assignments editor/assistant news director.

Vazquez’s new position is effective immediately.

‘Post-Newsweek’ Name Retired, Company Now ‘Graham Media Group’

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Post-Newsweek Stations announced today the company would now be known as Graham Media Group, effective immediately. The name change comes after the sale of The Washington Post to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. The company owns five television stations, WJXT in Jacksonville, WDIV in Detroit, KPRC in Houston, KSAT in San Antonio, and WKMG in Orlando.

In a statement, Emily Barr, president and CEO of Graham Media Group, said the new name was a better fit for the company:

“Much like our parent company, Graham Holdings, this new name better reflects the diversity of our creative and innovative company,” said Emily Barr, president and CEO of Graham Media Group. “We provide our communities with the best local news, programming and critical information, delivered on-air, on-line and on-demand, via our television stations, websites and social media, as well as 90 news, weather and community-focused mobile apps. In addition, we have recently made a strategic investment in Storm Pins, a crowd-sourced, social weather and breaking news app that connects you to your community, and we continue to look for ways to expand our reach into local communities through innovative digital media and web-based communications.”

Miami station WPLG, previously a Post-Newsweek station, was sold this year to Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway

Dave Strickland Resigns from KTRK

KTRK LOGOKTRK news director Dave Strickland has resigned.

Houston media blogger Mike McGuff, who first reported the story, said Strickland told staffers Friday “the job was affecting his family, life and personal relationships.”

Strickland started at the station as an intern. He left in 1994 to work at WAVY in Hampton Roads, VA, as an executive producer before being named news director in 1996. He returned to KTRK in 2000 as news director.

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